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Old 05-31-2007, 10:59 AM   #1
tarik
 
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Awase (from Meaning of Competitive)

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
This is a good point. There are different "aspects" of aiki... in training we are largely striving for "awase" or "matching". In fighting we are not.

It's like the waves on an oscilloscope. "Awase" is basically having the waves "in phase". Aikido training is largely about being in phase, at least in the kihon waza and in any weapons form practice you encounter.

But "awase" is not desirable in fighting where one desires to put the enemy "out of phase" with your actions. Being "in phase" can result in "ai-uchi" and it also gives an enemy the chance to reverse a given technique (kaeshiwaza).

Whether one is striving for "awase" or is trying to put the opponent "out of phase", both require ki musubi to be effective. In other words, controlling whether one is "in phase" or "out of phase" is just an example of different aspects of the "joining" which is aiki.
This is an interesting point. What is the precise definition of awase? Can you expand upon it in relation to the following?

I am frequently corrected by my seniors when training with regard to being 'in rhythm' with uke and uke's attack. The admonition being that, to attain kuzushi, I must be slightly off of uke's rhythm rather than matching it. Otherwise we have something akin to ai-uchi, or perhaps only a release of the attack with no kuzushi and therefor no opportunity to neutralize the attacker until another cycle begins.

It seems to me that either I'm training with a slightly different approach to aiki or that I'm missing something interesting that I should spend some time studying.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

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Old 05-31-2007, 11:24 AM   #2
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Re: Awase (from Meaning of Competitive)

As I currently understand the concept, awase (matching) means that neither uke nor tori has sente (initiative); both share the center until one of them takes it.

My current take is that learning to feel awase is vital in the beginning, but that in order to develop any real ability to steal both sente and posture when uke doesn't want you to, one must eventually learn to be appropriately "out of phase," as Ledyard sensei put it.

IMCO, it's akin (not Phil) to learning strict rhythm-keeping in music. One can't deliberately break the rhythm in predictable ways until one has learned what the rhythm is. Only then can one can play in and around the rhythm, or "in/out of phase."

I reserve the right to tweak my thoughts on this stuff as I get gooder.

Michael Hacker
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Old 05-31-2007, 06:05 PM   #3
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Awase (from Meaning of Competitive)

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As I currently understand the concept, awase (matching) means that neither uke nor tori has sente (initiative); both share the center until one of them takes it.
We've been practising the first six or seven partner practices with bokken from Saito sensei, and so far, beginners are struggling to match each other and being late, but with some of the more experienced people I've had the experience of moving completely together, as if their sword draws mine up or vice versa. I've been thinking that it feels better, but it feels like there should be a step further in the interaction where I can somehow take the initiative more. Not there yet obviously but this discussion seems to confirm that suspicion.

In empty hand it's not so obvious, so far I can only feel this with the sword work...

kvaak
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Old 05-31-2007, 08:52 PM   #4
Mark Uttech
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Re: Awase (from Meaning of Competitive)

When teaching class, I have always translated 'awase' as meaning 'together'. In partner practice with bokken/jo, that means I have to be in tune with uke/nage. There's a oneness there.

In gassho,

mark
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Old 05-31-2007, 09:46 PM   #5
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Re: Awase (from Meaning of Competitive)

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Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
Quote:
George Ledyard wrote:
"Awase" is basically having the waves "in phase". Aikido training is largely about being in phase, at least in the kihon waza and in any weapons form practice you encounter.
This is an interesting point. What is the precise definition of awase? Can you expand upon it in relation to the following?

I am frequently corrected by my seniors when training with regard to being 'in rhythm' with uke and uke's attack. The admonition being that, to attain kuzushi, I must be slightly off of uke's rhythm rather than matching it. Otherwise we have something akin to ai-uchi, or perhaps only a release of the attack with no kuzushi and therefor no opportunity to neutralize the attacker until another cycle begins.

It seems to me that either I'm training with a slightly different approach to aiki or that I'm missing something interesting that I should spend some time studying.
合わせる "awaseru" does mean "to match", but has a connotation of facing or opposing, in line with Ledyard Sensei's "out of phase" observation. A better sense may be "complement." This is even more significant to me in my exploration of O Sensei's use of the juji 十字 figure in relation to aikido. Complementary angles in geometry are those that sum to 90 degrees.

The term awase may be taken to mean both "matching" and "out of phase" simultaneously.

"Out of phase" may be understood commonly to mean 180 degrees off the contrasted cycle (peak precisely opposed to valley , i.e -- a conflict where the wave forms are opposite in sign at every point, except the tangents (flat) at the opposed peaks and valleys.

But it can also mean 90 degrees out of phase, where, more interestingly, the inflection point of the the derivative function (where acceleration changes sign) is precisely coincident to the inflection point of the basic function of the contrasted waveform (where velocity changes sign). What this means is that as the primary waveform is changing sign, the secondary wave form is already in the same sign trend but has just reached the peak accelerating part of its phase cycle in that sign (the curve getting steeper, starts to get less steep).

In other words, as the attacker's energy is at the inflection point (flat) from positive to negative (or vice versa) the aikidoka, acting at 90 degrees out of phase in his dynamic, is entering an area in which that change of sign is already in agreement with -- but is just leaving its peak acceleration in that sign on the way to its own eventual reversal of sign. Since the attacker is entering the same sign trend (positive or negative), he cannot resist the increase of that tendency without destroying the energy already committed to it, even though the aikidoka is already progressively diminishing that energy on his way to the inexorable dynamic reversal at the bottom.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 05-31-2007 at 09:52 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 06-01-2007, 12:21 AM   #6
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Awase (from Meaning of Competitive)

Let me be a bit more clear...

Awase, at least as I understand it, is quite literally about "matching" your partner. This is the basic principle at work when you do Kata practice. In Kata work, ones goal is to give the partner exactly the type of response which, in turn, allows his next movement and so on.

Forms have an omote and an ura. What you see in the basic form is the omote, or what it seems to be at face value. Any time you have kata practice, you are seeing a string of movements put together. Whatever the rational is for that sequence is the omote aspect of that form.

The ura aspect is what the movements within the form are underneath the outer version. In a typical sword form, each movement by each partner is potentially a finishing move. In order to get through the entire form, adjustments are made in timing and spacing so that the partner can respond as his or her role calls for. This requires awase or "matching" so that the partners are "in synch" or "in phase" with each other. If the two partners get out of sync, one or the other gets struck and the form can't continue.

In combat, one is not striving for awase. Rather, one strives to put the other opponent "out of phase" or "out of sync" with ones movements. This makes it almost impossible for him to counter ones movements. Each movement in a kata could be done in such a way that the partner would be unable to counter it. That is the ura of the form. Awase allows each person to respond, the underlying combat moves do not.

Aikido kihon waza practice is generally about awase. The practice is about a mutual connection. There may be tempo changes etc. but the purpose is to challenge and thereby develop the ability of the uke to stay connected (awase) through out the whole movement.

In the fighting versions of the same techniques (an ura aspect of these forms) one does not want the opponent "in phase" but rather "out of phase" so that he is unable to counter ones techniques. One does execute a throw in a manner designed to facilitate his ukemi safely, but just the opposite. Combat versions of these techniques are designed to have no safe ukemi, they are designed to create physical dysfunction or death.

Both opponents are striving for "connection" to the other opponent. But in combat, one strives to break the other's connection or cause it to falter for an instant. That is not awase. It is definitely not how basic practice is done.

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Old 06-01-2007, 01:47 AM   #7
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Re: Awase (from Meaning of Competitive)

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Pauliina Lievonen wrote: View Post
We've been practising the first six or seven partner practices with bokken from Saito sensei, and so far, beginners are struggling to match each other and being late, but with some of the more experienced people I've had the experience of moving completely together, as if their sword draws mine up or vice versa. I've been thinking that it feels better, but it feels like there should be a step further in the interaction where I can somehow take the initiative more. Not there yet obviously but this discussion seems to confirm that suspicion.
The kumitachi deals with taking/changing initiative. If I were in the region I would seek out Lewis de Quiros for info on them.

http://www.traditionalaikido.eu/
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Old 06-01-2007, 07:09 AM   #8
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Re: Awase (from Meaning of Competitive)

Kumitachi, of course! Duh. I've mostly done those at seminars with my teachers teacher and I'm not as familiar with them yet. I'm trying to build up a weapons repertoire for myself, our empty hand syllabus is I find very consistent and clear but with bokken and jo what I know is more random. Maybe it's time to start concentrating on the kumitachi next, that's a good idea.

Thanks for the link Peter, I don't know these guys but they're actually not that far away from me.

kvaak
Pauliina
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Old 06-01-2007, 08:08 AM   #9
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Re: Awase (from Meaning of Competitive)

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Let me be a bit more clear...
Before we get too clear, -- a bit more questioning mud perhaps... ?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Awase, at least as I understand it, is quite literally about "matching" your partner. This is the basic principle at work when you do Kata practice. In Kata work, ones goal is to give the partner exactly the type of response which, in turn, allows his next movement and so on. ...Aikido kihon waza practice is generally about awase. The practice is about a mutual connection. There may be tempo changes etc. but the purpose is to challenge and thereby develop the ability of the uke to stay connected (awase) through out the whole movement.
So far, OK, although I do not necessarily agree with what I feel is implied in this description -- that there is a fundamental inversion in how we practice (whether kihon or ki no nagare) from how we apply the art in a combat situation. I see a continuum of practice into the area of potentially destructive energy where it is nage relenting in the full final motion (the reversing portion of the wave) that saves uke and permits ukemi.

I am fully prepared to be corrected. However, as I see it, both the kihon and the combat techniques let the practitioner find the inflection points I described earlier, where uke's predicament begins, and kihon or ki no nagare practice merely stops where injury would begin to be realized from the compromised dynamic structure he has been led into.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
In combat, one is not striving for awase. Rather, one strives to put the other opponent "out of phase" or "out of sync" with ones movements.
I understand what I think you are saying. But is this really true in the way you are saying it? It may simply be that I look at this as a tighter analog to the actual "phase" relationship of waves than you intended in your use of it as a descriptive model. But I think that aspects of the tighter parallel are worth seriously considering.

I interpret what I am doing as placing uke's structure slightly out of synch with his own movements, which disconnect progressively diverges. Since I place my structure in connection to his and my movements in synchrony with his altered structure, he is unable to restore his structure to his movement, or have the stability necessary to alter mine. He therefore moves as I move, because his structure is shaped to my movement, not his, and with a compromised structure he is unable to do much to alter his or the combined movement until my connection is lost.

In your oscilloscope model, kihon would be allowing that reversal potion of the movement (top or bottom of the wave) simply to go "flat" at "completion" in the practice setting -- at the top (or bottom of a wave) thus locating the cusp of the critical reversal point where the region of potentially serious damage begins, and where you know you have "got" him. The flattening means that his energy, still approaching ours makes the potential energy difference lessen.

In ki no nagare we begin to explore the shallower reaches of the reversed slope past that point but, in practice, progressively releasing our connection as we do it, bleeding just enough energy out of the movement to allow ukemi to occur, and allowing our ukemi to improve. Nage's change of sign has occurred, but his is still on the increasing trend the opposite way -- and thus the potential energy in the interacting is rising.

The "full" combat expression continues into full the reversal of sign portio of the wave at same energy level, which risks serious damage. The energy of uke comes into opposition (opposite sign) with that of nage in an uncontrolled manner (from uke's perspsective), and the potential energy difference is then at its largest.

The point of maximum difference in potential energy occurs just before his energy changes sign at the top or bottom, and I bring my own energy to the midline or zero. While my energy becomes literally nothing -- I maximize the energy that can be released in our interaction and the damage it can do through my connection.

Like a circuit -- if I maintain a complete connection past that point in the cycle, the potential energy difference is realized into actual flow from high energy to low energy (relative to zero) and the circuit fries if the energy is large enough to overload its capacity.

But that happens, it seems to me because we initially match (awase) in a "locked" phase step, but then increasingly diverge from one another in actual energy, while staying in the same phase lock relationship. It works because of the fundamental nature of the dynamic that is established in doing it in that particular way, and the structural advantage gained in doing it. I do not perceive the entry into this dynamic position different whether I am working kihon or ki no nagare, although the endgame is very different in sensibility.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 06-01-2007 at 08:22 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 06-01-2007, 09:15 AM   #10
Keith Larman
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Re: Awase (from Meaning of Competitive)

Interesting discussion. FWIW I've always thought about awase as "pressure" between two moving/fluid things. As one moves in the "pressure" causes the other to move so as to "equalize" the pressure. So sort of blending, sort of aiki, but in a very real way about learning how each movement in essence "causes" the next. It is more about process and moving from one position to the next. Action and reaction in a continuum.

Then again it might just be because I'm not into oscilliscopes and I glaze over whenever stuff like waves get mentioned... And my experience being on a ranch watching my Australian Shepherds move flocks of sheep by adjusting their position and moving subtly towards them causing the flock to move in response which causes the dog to move again etc. Eventually the aussies move the herd where they need to go. But never by charging in, never by racing around, just ideally by a very graceful movement causing "pressure" on the "bubble" around the herd... Cool stuff.

I also think one major lesson in it is about control. Not in the sense of not getting wild, but it creates an extended "conflict" of sorts and one goal is for both to remain in control of the conflict the entire time. Back to my dogs, never letting it get out of control. Both moving forward but also not going too fast or too far such that one of the sheep panics and breaks off (losing control of the whole). Control. Moving in while not creating an opening that you can't also adjust to if that opening is taken.

How's that for some extra obscure analogies for understanding...

Last edited by Keith Larman : 06-01-2007 at 09:19 AM.

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Old 06-01-2007, 10:00 AM   #11
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Re: Awase (from Meaning of Competitive)

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Interesting discussion. FWIW I've always thought about awase as "pressure" between two moving/fluid things. As one moves in the "pressure" causes the other to move so as to "equalize" the pressure. So sort of blending, sort of aiki, but in a very real way about learning how each movement in essence "causes" the next. It is more about process and moving from one position to the next. Action and reaction in a continuum.

Then again it might just be because I'm not into oscilliscopes and I glaze over whenever stuff like waves get mentioned... And my experience being on a ranch watching my Australian Shepherds move flocks of sheep by adjusting their position and moving subtly towards them causing the flock to move in response which causes the dog to move again etc. Eventually the aussies move the herd where they need to go. But never by charging in, never by racing around, just ideally by a very graceful movement causing "pressure" on the "bubble" around the herd... Cool stuff.

I also think one major lesson in it is about control. Not in the sense of not getting wild, but it creates an extended "conflict" of sorts and one goal is for both to remain in control of the conflict the entire time. Back to my dogs, never letting it get out of control. Both moving forward but also not going too fast or too far such that one of the sheep panics and breaks off (losing control of the whole). Control. Moving in while not creating an opening that you can't also adjust to if that opening is taken.

How's that for some extra obscure analogies for understanding...
I like it.
Thank You.
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Old 06-01-2007, 11:25 AM   #12
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Re: Awase (from Meaning of Competitive)

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Then again it might just be because I'm not into oscilliscopes and I glaze over whenever stuff like waves get mentioned... And my experience being on a ranch watching my Australian Shepherds move flocks of sheep by adjusting their position and moving subtly towards them causing the flock to move in response which causes the dog to move again etc. Eventually the aussies move the herd where they need to go. But never by charging in, never by racing around, just ideally by a very graceful movement causing "pressure" on the "bubble" around the herd... Cool stuff.
I hate to play into your aversion but waves may play a significant part in the coordinated motion of your herd... http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mflockswoop.html
Quote:
"'How does a flock of birds wheel and swoop in unison?'" wrote:
Research by Wayne Potts, published in the journal Nature in 1984, helped explain how flock movements are initiated and coordinated. Potts, through a frame-by-frame analysis of high-speed film of sandpiper flocks, found that any individual can initiate a flock movement, which then propagates through the flock in a wave radiating out from the initiation site. These "maneuver waves" could move in any direction through the flock, including from back to front. However, the flock usually only responded to birds that banked into the flock, rather than away from it. Since birds turning away from the flock run the risk of being separated from it and getting picked off by the predator, others will not follow them. Besides its obvious benefits for individuals, this rule helps prevent indecision by the flock and permits it to respond rapidly to attack.

Once one of these waves began, Potts found that it spread through the flock far more rapidly than could be explained by the reaction times of individual birds. A bird's mean startle reaction time to a light flash as measured in the laboratory was 38 milliseconds, but maneuver waves spread through the flock between birds at a mean speed of less than 15 milliseconds. However, the first birds to respond to an initiator took 67 milliseconds to react. Potts proposed that birds farther away from the initiation site were able to see the wave approaching them, and could "get set" to respond before it actually reached them. He dubbed this the "chorus line hypothesis," in analogy to Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall who can see and anticipate an approaching high leg kick when it is still well down the line. Films of human chorus lines show that rehearsed maneuvers, initiated without warning, propagate down the line at less than 108 milliseconds, almost twice as fast as the human visual reaction time of 194 milliseconds....

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 06-01-2007, 01:05 PM   #13
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Re: Awase (from Meaning of Competitive)

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I hate to play into your aversion but waves may play a significant part in the coordinated motion of your herd... http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mflockswoop.html
Yup, with learning to herd sheep the hardest thing for the handler is learning to feel the sheep and the dogs' movements. It isn't about thinking, making decisions, etc. on a conscious level, but about learning to feel the pressure and "waves". Same is true for me with doing awase with my sensei (rokudan). We do it fairly often and he often uses me for the demonstrations of it. At full speed with full intent you really feel the ebb and flow of the pressure.

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Old 06-02-2007, 10:28 PM   #14
tarik
 
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Re: Awase (from Meaning of Competitive)

Thank you, George, for your explication. Being in phase for kihon is not quite how believe I'm being taught to train, but it does fit how I was taught to train in the past, and the reasons for it make more sense with your explanation and Mike Hacker's comments.

I would also like to thank the rest for all for your comments. I believe you answered my questions. Naturally, I will rely upon my seniors and my training for a final (evolving) answer, but I wanted to understand the different (or similar) ways that people approach this.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
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